A Baghdad court has handed a life jail sentence to the widow of Al-Qaeda’s top chief in Iraq, killed last year in a joint US-Iraqi military raid, a judiciary official said on Wednesday.
Abdel Sattar al-Beriqdar, spokesman of Iraq’s High Council of Justice, told AFP the woman was an Iraqi, but identified her only by her initials.
She is the widow of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the former head of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), the Qaeda front in Iraq.
“The criminal W.J. confessed she participated with her terrorist husband in many armed terrorist operations in different areas in the country,” Beriqdar said in a statement.
He said she had controlled the cash and suicide vests used in attacks, and added the life sentence, usually 20-25 years in Iraq, could be appealed.
Baghdadi was slain in an April 18, 2010 raid on a safe house north of the Iraqi capital that also killed Abu Ayub al-Masri — an Egyptian militant and another top ISI official.
General Ray Odierno, the top US commander in Iraq at the time, said the killings were “potentially the most significant blow to Al-Qaeda in Iraq since the beginning of the insurgency.”
Following the raid, ISI named two new leaders, Abu Bakr al-Qurashi and Sheikh Abu Abdullah al-Qurashi, to succeed the dead duo.
At the height of Iraq’s sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007, Al-Qaeda and other Sunni militant groups killed thousands of civilians when they bombed markets and mosques crowded with Shiite civilians.